Say No to 'Other'
March 14, 2017
March 20 is National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. On this day, NMAC asks everyone to say no to the epidemiological category "other". We have all seen HIV reports that list certain communities affected by the epidemic as "others". Mostly this is used to describe American Indians, Alaska Natives, Asians, and Pacific Islanders. This generic label masks the stories, struggles, and resilience of these communities. Behind the numbers are people, families, culture and traditions. American Indian and Alaska Native communities deserve the right, just like every other community, to be named. March 20th is National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and we urge everyone to remove the "other" label from not only HIV reports, but all reports.
It is also very important how numbers are presented. Look at the following graph of new HIV infections data from 2010 to 2015:
Last year NMAC mistakenly used the classification "other" on a USCA form. It was not on purpose nor was it meant as a sign of disrespect. As soon as it was pointed out, we changed the application; however, that was not enough. NMAC did an internal review and several changes were implemented:
None of us is perfect. Staff understands that we will make mistakes; what is important is how we clean up our messes. Stand with NMAC and say "no" to others. Everyone deserves the right to self-determination that includes your ethnicity.
This article was provided by National Minority AIDS Council. Visit NMAC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
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